Monday 14 September 2009

Dilemma in B&W - # 09/128

There are two ponds near Ham Gate in Richmond Park. David McDowall's "Walker's Guide to Richmond Park" tells us about the evidence of Iron Age agriculture and the site of a 17th Century house that once stood here, close to Ham Dip Pond (this, the higher of the two ponds).
I am fascinated by this spot - it often has a lone Heron - which cries out to be captured. Perhaps it would be easier in a painting. Photographically it is, for me at least, a hard challenge. Perhaps I must get up earlier or stay later in the evening.
The B&W photo appears to me confusing and fails to celebrate the smooth tonality I like in B&W; nor does it do justice to the water and the vegetation.
There are plenty of grey and black tones in this, but I feel the shot fails to capture or convey the atmosphere that I experience. This site ought to be a "B&W gut wrencher", but it isn't.
Tomorrow I'll post the same version in colour.


  1. I have the same problems photographing subjects for black and white.

    I have found that if the sky is white or grey then it's a black and white photo day!

    It can help if subjects are more 'compartmentised' for black and white images so things stand out more. Not sure what you think of that though. For example, in your photo would it help if the trees in the reflection had more sky between them and the foreground bushes?

  2. I see your point, although I find it very pleasing and peaceful. BW is hard, and I am using it a lot less than I once did. Maybe I"m 'in my "color period" or some such. I want to see this in color. I'll be back.

    BTW, Snapper is trying to convince me to try BW film with a 50mm lens for a year!!! I'm going to give it a go in January I think. I'll start with a month and see how it works. It'll be interesting to see if I can raise my photography up a notch or two. What are your thoughts, C? I'd like to hear it. You can email me if you wish.

  3. Virginia - I don't know who Snapper is, but that's an excellent idea! A prime lens makes you concentrate on the composition at the time of capture. 50mm stops you falling for easy gimmicks. Of course I also think using film is a good idea. Apart from anything else, you don't end up with 700 images on your hard disk after a short walk in the park.